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Sound system

PulseAudio is a requirement and has to be up and running on the host (not inside the containers) to expose a socket (for communication) and a cookie (for authentication) to allow the containers to have access to the microphone (input device) and speakers (output device).

On modern Linux distribution, PipeWire now handles the sound stack on the system.

Sound server auto-detection

ovos-docker supports both native PulseAudio and PipeWire, the containers will automatically detect which sound server is running on the operating system.

Mac OS and Windows

If you are running an operating system other Linux such as Mac OS or Windows, then PulseAudio will have to be installed to act as a gateway between the containers and the OS.

brew install pulseaudio
brew services stop pulseaudio
sed -i "" "s/#load-module module-native-protocol-tcp/load-module module-native-protocol-tcp/g" $(brew ls pulseaudio | grep$)
brew services start pulseaudio
sudo apt install pulseaudio


The user running the containers must be part of the audio system group (depending the Linux distribution).

PulseAudio files permissions

Check the permissions for ~/.config/pulse/ and /run/user/1000/pulse directories, they should belong to the user running the stack (where 1000 is your user ID), not to root user.

If you are running on Mac OS, there is no /run/user/1000/ directory.


pactl is a PulseAudio command shipped with the pulseaudio-utils package and pw-cli is a PipeWire command shipped with pipewire-utils or pipewire-bin depending your distribution.

These commands provide information about the status of PulseAudio or PipeWire.

pactl info
pw-cli info

List microphones

At least one of the sources (microphones/audio input) returned, should match the Default Source line from the pactl info command or the Audio/Source line from the wpctl status command.

pactl list sources short
wpctl status | grep Audio/Source

List speakers

At least one of the sinks (speakers/audio output) returned, should match the Default Sink line from the pactl info command or the Audio/Sink line from the wpctl status command.

pactl list sinks short
wpctl status | grep Audio/Sink